Phnom Penh, Cambodia
There are few things I dislike in this world. Green peppers, Paris Hilton, the public clipping of toe nails – minor annoyances. All superficial really.
But one thing that’s creeped onto that pet peeve list lately is graffiti. Not the arty, subversive Banksy-type stuff gritty’ing up inner-city walls, but the handwritten crap that scars tourist attractions across the globe. The “I-was-here-but-now-I’m-gone-so-I-left-my-name-to-turn-you-on” variety – scrawled, scratched, and scribbled by Sharpie-wielding halfwits on holidays.
What compels these morons to impart lowbrow limericks or “Joanie + Chachi 4Ever” missives I’m not sure. Bathroom walls are one thing, but on sacred and solemn sites? Tsk, tsk. One thing I do know…
Kevin from Cork, Ireland is one of those morons.
There shouldn’t need to be signs reminding you not to write on the walls here, but regardless, idiots like our pal Kevin do just that.
This is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
In quieter times, it was a high school. Nicknamed S-21, Pol Pot’s communist Khmer Rouge regime used it as a prison during its rise to power in 1975 up to its fall in 1979.
When Tuol Sleng was discovered by the invading Vietnamese army in 1979, combat photographer Ho Van Tay documented what he saw when he entered each cell. Today, his chilling photos are on display in each of the rooms.
Of the up to 20,000 people who were imprisoned here, only 7 made it out alive.
The sad thing is, Kevin is not alone. There are hundreds of feeble-minded vandals armed with markers, crayons, and yes, even lipstick, who feel the need to deface in a multitude of languages.
I don’t get it. And I’m not sure what else to say.